The biggest and most important new exhibition in the Eden Project’s 17-year history opens to the public on Friday, May 25.
Invisible Worlds will see Eden’s Core education building transformed with an all-new collection of exciting interactive exhibits, including a spectacular 8.5-high ceramic sculpture.
The building is currently nearing the end of a nine-month remodelling programme.
Visitors will enter the Core through a new route, which will take them to three spectacular interactive digital exhibits, exploring the vast and small invisible world and the evolution of the world’s life support system, driven in the main by microbes.
The first area, known as Small Invisible, will feature a wide range of curious ways to view microbes, including using super-sized microscopes.
Visitors will be able to see not just what microbes look like but what they do. This includes microbes that provide the oxygen we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.
The second area, Vast Invisible, is an interactive sculpture that illustrates the flows of matter through air, water and land. Visitors will enter a frame and become part of the exhibit as matter flows in and out of them.
This exhibit demonstrates how everything we need for life is always here on Earth – if we work with nature and its phenomenal recycling system.
The third area, Past Invisible, is a series of stunning animations projected across an extraordinary 3D structure.
The film reveals how the invisible systems of the Earth have evolved over 4.5 billion years to create a habitable planet and shape life as we know it. Visitors will discover how human health depends on the health of the planet.
These three introductory exhibits will lead visitors through to the stunning centrepiece: an 8.5m-high artwork by Future\Pace artists Studio Swine (which stands for Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers), a collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves.
It is designed as a monument to cyanobacteria – one of the world’s smallest, earliest and most important organisms, and one of the first on the Earth to produce oxygen. The work pays tribute to these vital but invisible unsung heroes of the natural world, much in the same way as notable people are commemorated with statues.
Studio Swine’s practice is multi-dimensional: a film, directed in collaboration with Petr Krejčí will be showing alongside the sculpture. Bespoke scents recalling ancient atmospheres of our primordial world have been specially created by Swiss company Givaudan. Sound artists, Paradigm Weave (Alfonso De Grandis, Dani Joss), complete the experience with an ambient, evocative sonic environment to augment the soundscape augmenting the immersive nature of the installation.
This commission is curated by culture and placemaking agency, Futurecity.
On the first and second floors of the Core a new laboratory will host collaborative science experiments and events for schools and members of the public. A new soft play area for children under three years old and themed around Invisible Worlds will also be installed on the top floor of the building.
A new exhibition gallery will feature a programme of exhibitions. The first will be Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram’s Glass Microbiology show. This is a collection of beautiful, intricate glass sculptures of viruses and bacteria.
Eden’s seasonal events will be inspired by the Invisible Worlds programme and further exhibits will be installed across the former clay quarry near St Austell in Cornwall – including those exploring the invisible processes that give us clean air, fresh water and fertile soil. They will be opened later in 2018.
The Eden team has worked with top scientists worldwide to create the new exhibition including prestigious institutions, such as Harvard Medical School in Boston, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University College London and the University of Exeter.
Gus Grand, Invisible Worlds project manager, said: “The opening of Invisible Worlds will be a big moment for the Eden Project. The exhibition is the result of a deep collaboration between Eden and some of the world’s top scientists and artists.”
Dr Jo Elworthy, Eden’s director of interpretation, said: “This is about showing people the mind-blowing systems and organisms that control every aspect of our lives but are either too big, too small or too far away for us to see.
“Everything we need to live is right here on planet Earth. Only sunlight comes in and only heat escapes. We need to work with nature’s phenomenal recycling system.”
The opening of Invisible Worlds will be marked with a week-long celebration event during May half term (May 26 to June 3). Entry to all Invisible Worlds exhibits is included in the standard Eden Project admission price.
Beyond half term, Invisible Worlds will be a permanent addition to the Eden Project and a fabulous new way to convey scientific secrets of the world to our visitors.
Invisible Worlds is supported by Wellcome and Arts Council England.
For more information, see www.edenproject.com
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